Biking and Waterfalls on the Bolaven Plateau

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Champasak,
Thursday, July 21, 2011

07:35 We were up at 7 today as we want to see things before our longish ride back to pakse.
First the waterfalls in the Tat Lo area, which means Tat Lo, Tat Hang and Tat Suong. As we've already seen the first two, we're off o find the third.
09:34 We found our way up to Tat Suong, right up a hill to a waterfall that is basically a precipice with with water gently falling off the top rather than a great rushing waterfall, it was very pretty!
12:21 After leaving Tat Suong we headed north briefly and then turned right at Ban Beng towards Tha Taeng and Paksong which brought us up onto the Bolavon Plateau. At this point it started raining, and got quite cold too. We found somewhere to stop an shelter from the rain, which we hoped would just pas over us and I had some noodles and we had 3 in 1 coffee and played cards, which drew a crowd. It stopped so we said our goodbyes to the shop family, but by the time we had put ourselves together to get back on the road, it had started again! We bit the bullet and carried on through the rain.
14:01 We arrived in Paksong cold and wet, I even went and put my vest on under my shirt I was so chilly, and we stopped for something to eat in a place where they seemed to be having an early afternoon drunken party which meant it took ages for us to get served and we had loud music blaring in our ears making talking difficult. After a late lunch we continued on to see the 2 big magnificent waterfalls in this area- Tat Yuang and Tat Fan.

Tat Yuang was first, but as it had been raining the road off to the waterfall, which was a dirt road very much like clay had become shiny, compact and very slippery. How we got our bikes there and back down and up a very steep hill I just don't know, Jane elected not to try so the other 2 came with me. The waterfall was really pretty and the mist rose up and drifted into the air making everything wet, but also creating almost a circle of a rainbow. The scramble back up the slippery road to where Jane was waiting was a bit of an effort, and not helped by my bike cutting out half way up this slippy hill! The only reason this was particularly inconvenient was that the electric starter (ie push the button with your right thumb) hadn't worked the entire trip, which meant as the most experienced rider of the group, I had the bike that needed to be kick started- not easy on a 20deg hill as slippy as ice!

After we escaped that we only went another 2km down the road to Tat Fan, again, we set off down a slippy road where Jane's bike fell from under her and her with it, so we decided to walk the rest of the way, especially after watching half a dozen locals also fall off. We parked our bikes in a family's yard at their invitation before walking down the slippy road, quite tentatively to Tat Fan Resort where there was a viewing point of the waterfall. Oh what a waterfall! 2 rivers falling into a massive hole of dense forest, throwing mist up into the air. We didn't stay long, we had a long way to go before getting back to Pakse and it was already after 4pm.
22:23 Fortunately the trip back was dry so we arrived back about 6. We went to the bright yellow Pakse hotel to the roof terrace to watch the sun go down over the hills with a drink. It was only once we got back and stopped moving that I realised just how much sun the backs of my hands had caught because they hurt. They effing hurt. To the point that for the next 2 bars we went to I had to request ice in a cloth to bathe the backs of my hands to stop them from hurting, it was like I'd had boiling water poured over the back of both of them, and they stang all evening. When I got back to my room I put a thick layer of aloe gel over them, but shortly after midnight I had to go and stand in the bathroom with my hands under the tap to cool them once again before trying to sleep. And you know what? They won't turn a nice shade of brown, they'll regress to white again.

Best: the waterfalls
Worst: SORE hands
Beautiful: the waterfalls
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Caroline on

Yowch, Zoe, your hands and arms look painful! Hope they stopped hurting soon.
What's a 3 and 1 coffee?

zoebuck on

3 in 1 coffee is a sachet containing coffee, powdered mill and sugar, so you just add hot water, it's really very nice and we lived on them through Russia! Handy to have a few in your bag or car to avoid costly service station prices (I know coz I used to work in a motorway service station and no one will ever charge you for a cup of hot water!)

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